As an accredited eco-cathedral, we are delighted to have agreed to back a plan which will enable the Minster to play a part in combating the greatest threat facing humanity – that of climate change.

The plan has been influenced by a wide range of factors which have come together locally in the same way as they have in many other places. They include:

  • the Church of England’s decision to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2030 – in only nine years’ time
  • perception of a growing enthusiasm for nature and open space as a particular consequence of the covid pandemic
  • realisation that ‘back to normal’ cannot be to an unsustainable normality of polluting and destroying the only planet we have and
  • the ‘almost unique’ nature of a Cathedral in a predominantly rural area which happens to house internationally renowned medieval stone carvings of the natural world, and which are currently being further curated with the help of a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

These all point to the Southwell Minster’s particular mission or part to play, in learning and teaching about climate change, and seeking, in what ways it can, to make meaningful contributions to tackling it.

Recently the Cathedral hosted an artwork entitled HOPE. The installation spelt out the word ‘hope’ in massive, illuminated, letters which subtly changed colour. Christians say hope underpins much of their faith and contributes to their well-being. But hope is not a strategy. The plan which the Cathedral Chapter have approved sets out some 37 distinct actions which will require much work, long term commitment … and hope.

Planned actions include reaffirming the climate emergency declaration and a range of strategic actions. They also include measures to reduce carbon emissions, and where possible, to increase ecological and environmental repair of its landholdings. A major part of the plan will be to influence the local community and work with others as a follow-up to the conference held in Southwell Minster in March 2019, under the name of ‘Listening to the Leaves’.

In April representatives of A Rocha are due to make a three day visit to Southwell. A Rocha is an international Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world. The Cathedral and A Rocha are exploring the wide scope that exists for mutually beneficial partnerships.